Volvo back to ‘normal’ in China as it shuts EU and US car plants

‘We need to plan for normality after Easter, to give people a light at the end of the tunnel’

Carmakers are tightening their belts at the prospect of weeks without revenues in Europe and the US. Photograph: Getty

Carmakers are tightening their belts at the prospect of weeks without revenues in Europe and the US. Photograph: Getty

 

Volvo Cars said its Chinese business had returned to “normal”, offering a ray of hope to European and US carmakers that have shuttered operations in the face of the global coronavirus pandemic.

As the Swedish group closed its US plant and became the final carmaker to cease production in Europe, chief executive Hakan Samuelsson said factories and dealerships in China were operating close to pre-shutdown levels.

“All factories are back, and there are very positive signs of normalisation, all dealerships are open and showrooms are showing signs of being very close to normal,” he told the Financial Times. “Everybody has the feeling they are through.”

Carmakers have in the past week announced the closures of every large European plant and more than 100 facilities across north and south America in a wave of measures to impede the spread of the virus.

“We need to plan for normality after Easter, to give people a light at the end of the tunnel,” said Mr Samuelsson. “Let’s hope that will be the case. Continuing to Christmas would be a disaster.”

Carmakers are tightening their belts at the prospect of weeks without revenues in Europe and the US, while it remains difficult to reduce costs at short notice. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2020